written and directed by Andrzej Jakimowski

Following on an excellent film by Jakimowski I checked out a few of his interviews: in one he says:

“Ian is a rebel. 
 In what he does there is a doze of irresponsibility” 

Right on. Can rebels be responsible anyway? This irresponsible push toward the others, in “Imagine” exemplified by Ian, the push that’s dangerous yet can yield great rewards is the quintessential cinema texture. “Imagine” can be seen as reworking on an episode from “Andrej Rublow”, when the boy talks the group into following him to cast a bell. The action is a success but only afterwards it’s revealed that the boy bluffed his way through the process. He didn’t know. Yet, he knew. The same is with Ian in “Imagine”.

"Imagination has to meander sometimes, has to take risks, 
has to reach out beyond the comfort zone.
Only then a breakthrough is possible. 
That’s what the movie is about."   

“In the movie there are a few disorienting Eva scenes, 
because Ian sometimes provokes Eva to give her courage. 
 That does not mean he creates fiction though. (..) 
He confuses things a bit, but is after the truth. 
 One has to be a visionary. If we don’t have the imagination 
the world remains to us a shapeless mass.” 

Do those who push things forward know the outcome?  Do they know the destination of the journeys they push others to take?  How strong is certainty in the power of conviction?  Where does the innovation come from?  How is any progress possible?  The film does not address these questions openly. It wisely stays within an intimate, personal zone, yet the challenges of advances in understanding (and creating!) the world versus "blind leading the blind" are clearly behind this subtle tale of gaining love and knowledge.  

“What’s good in cinema is outside the frame. 
A movie is good when it triggers imagination. 
This is the rule followed by Hitchcock, 
Chaplin and also the makers of horrors.”

From a formal point of view, Jakimowski is consistent in creating the screen feeling of us versus the unknown external.  What I like in this approach is the negation of the hubristic assumption that we can put the camera and capture "the truth".  We can't.  Yet,  with sensitivity and boldness and rebelliousness we can embark on the search of what's out there.  As a result sometimes we can glimpse into the way things are.  At least some of us.  


Directing as listening

Walesa - man of hope
Screenplay by Janusz Glowacki, directed by Andrzej Wajda

Wajda is a magician when it comes to actors. Nearly everybody stands on his or her head to excel when working for him. Yet, people say he does not really tell actors what to do. Somehow he creates situations where “the talent” has to deliver.

In “Walesa - the man of hope”, while everybody raves about Wieckiewicz becoming Walesa, I was totally mesmerized by Angieszka Grochowska who plays Walensa’s wife. She just is Mrs. Danusia. Not an ounce of playing can be seen there. (Ok, some make up allowance for looking good can be detected, but let’s not be petty. Even such masterpiece (yes!) as “Gravity” has Sandra Bullock parading in a tee-shirt without a drop of sweat after hours of dodging nasty interspace debris, facing exploding space stations and the likes)

The scene with Grochowska being forced to a strip search while returning to Poland with the Nobel for Walesa is particularly moving. She just turn closes the box with the medal so that it does not see the shame. Great touch. I wonder who came up with this.

I listed to Wajda talking about making “Walesa”. Initially Oriana Falacci’s character was to appear in one or two of the scenes. After shooting them Wajda noticed a new layer in Wieckiewicz's performance (more cocky, pompous, self reflective).  And so the entire chain of scenes was born giving the film its structure.  

Wajda watches the material, be it actors or the script development, and molds that which emerges accordingly. As a true leader he follows the people, or rather as a true artist he follows the dynamics that are born out of the material.

What’s the conclusion? Listen to what the collaborators want to give you rather than telling them what to do.